Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Watch this astonishing yet controversial video of 16-month-old Elizabeth Christensen swimming alone in the pool.
Baby Elizabeth swims the length of the pool without any flotation devices or lifeguards. Her parents report that she swims three times a day and can dive in to get toys out of the pool. Elizabeth swims facing downward, using her legs and arms to propel her through the water, and rolls onto her back to catch a breath of air before continuing to paddle. More from Headlines & Global News:
Adam Christensen defended the video clip by explaining to the media that his daughter was trained by a certified professional. “When I first watched her in there, every time she went face down I was like ‘oh my goodness, she can’t breathe.’ I was just worried to death, but the instructor assured us that she was just fine,” he told CNN news. “We didn’t teach her ourselves. We wanted a professional, somebody that was certified to do that, but we still are able to recognize warning signs, when they’re fatigued.”
Christensen also wrote in the description of the YouTube video that he is a registered nurse trained in CPR and water safety along with his wife, who is a former life guard. He noted that Elizabeth was trained by an ISR (infant swimming resource) instructor.
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Friday, June 14th, 2013
Formal swimming lessons, conducted by a certified instructor, may be the key to reducing the number of child drownings in the U.S. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 19, and although it is established that lessons give children the skills they need to survive in the water, access to those resources is often restricted in lower income and minority communities. More from The New York Times:
Huge numbers of children are unable to swim, which largely explains why drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19. Three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy, reinforcing its advice that children ages 4 and older should learn to swim but also noting that children ages 1 to 4 are less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming lessons.
Furthermore, very young children who are comfortable in water are likely to be easier to teach to swim when they are ready to learn formal strokes.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.
“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”
But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.
As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. Adults who can’t swim often fear the water and, directly or indirectly, convey that fear to their children.
Image: Child swimming, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
A 14-year-old Canadian girl has completed the 27-hour, 31.6-mile swim across Lake Ontario. CNN.com reports on Annaleise Carr, who is the youngest swimmer ever to complete the swim:
Annaleise began her charity swim at 6:17 p.m. ET Saturday at Niagara-on-the-Lake. She climbed out of the water at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park two minutes before 9 p.m. Sunday.
The teenager did not speak to the gathered crowd after her swim, instead going to the hospital for a standard check-up, a spokesman said.
Staff in a kayak and an inflatable boat accompanied her to shore.
CNN affiliate CTV said Annaliese was allowed breaks during her swim so she could eat, but she had to stay in the water.
The teenager did her swim for charity, aiming to raise $30,000 for Camp Trillium, a childhood cancer center. As of 5:23 p.m. Sunday, she had raised close to $80,000, according to her parents, who were updating her progress online each step of the way.
“Unbelievable!!!!!” her parents wrote on her website, Annaleise’s Lake Ontario Crossing. “We are so proud!!!”
Image: Lake, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
Canadian swimmer Catherine Garceau won a Bronze medal for synchronized swimming in 2000, but in her forthcoming memoir “Heart of Bronze,” she describes why she’s currently out of the pool–she attributes a number of health problems, including chronic bronchitis and frequent migraines, to her continuous exposure to the high levels of chlorine found in indoor swimming pools.
Her book is drawing attention to the question of whether indoor pools, enclosed environments that leave swimmers breathing more chemically-potent air, are safe, particularly for children and even for male fertility. CNN.com reports:
Dr. Alfred Bernard is a professor of toxicology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels and one of the world’s leading researchers on aquatic environments. He has published a series of studies documenting the effects of chlorine and its byproducts in swimming pools.
In June, Bernard published a study in the International Journal of Andrology linking chlorine with testicular damage. Swimming in indoor, chlorinated pools during childhood was shown to reduce levels of serum inhibin B and total testosterone, both indicators of sperm count and mobility. Bernard notes in the study summary that the “highly permeable scrotum” allows chlorine to be absorbed into the body.
Bernard has also substantiated previous studies’ claims of a link between swimming in indoor chlorinated pools and the development of asthma and recurrent bronchitis in children. His 2007 study showed airway and lung permeability changes in children who had participated in an infant swimming group.
Reading these studies, it’s easy to forget that swimming itself is a great aerobic exercise that puts less stress on your joints than activities like running. In fact, it’s a sport often recommended for children with asthma because the humid, moist environment makes it easier for athletes to inhale and the breathing techniques can improve lung function.
(image via: http://www.techcomponents.com/)
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